Synthetic electronic fuels coming soon as Porsche invests US$75 million in carbon neutral product maker

Porsche wants you to keep enjoying its classic 911 for years to come and maybe even one day be able to offer all the new cars with an eFuel gas tank.

Porsche is investing $75 million in Chilean company HIF, which has developed a method to create synthetic liquid fuel that can be used in any gasoline-burning engine and is also almost carbon neutral. Synthetic eFuels Are Coming as Porsche Invests $75 Million in Maker of the Carbon-Neutral Product
Synthetic eFuels Are Coming as Porsche Invests $75 Million in Maker of the Carbon-Neutral Product

Porsche says it remains committed to electric powertrains for future models, but does not want to leave its existing customers behind. A synthetic, carbon-free fuel is just the answer.
HIF is expected to start production of the eFuel in the middle of this year and Porsche will use the fuel in motorsports when available.

Porsche’s interest in synthetic fuels has been around for several years now, but the reason behind the company’s desire to provide a sustainable alternative to gasoline goes back to the racing past and of the 911. Today, Porsche announced a major step forward in the production of commercial liquid synthetic fuels: a $75 million investment in the Chilean highly innovative fuel (HIF) electronic fuel manufacturer.

Porsche (and the Volkswagen Group) are still investing heavily in bringing more electric vehicles to market, with Porsche itself having spent hundreds of millions of dollars on EV technology. However, the new electric cars don’t help porsche owners today, which is where Porsche invests in a gas-replacement fuel called eFuel. Porsche says the electric-based synthetic fuel produced by wind power has almost no carbon neutrality and it’s an ideal choice for driving enthusiasts.

The company wants to sell the eFuel at its Experience Centers and could one day offer all the new cars with an eFuel gas tank, Michael Steiner, a Porsche executive board member, said in a meeting with reporters, but there is another important market for carbon neutral fuels.

Steiner said: “Besides the track and the Porsche Experience Centre, the iconic 911 is the main focus of our eFuel project. Porsche knows that doesn’t matter in the big picture if you say you’re removing carbon emissions from one model or another; The key is to get fossil fuels out of the picture. If you can do that and still drive a liquid-fueled car, why not turn it into a 911? Steiner said. Porsche wants to give the driver this option if feasible.

“Whether we offer [our eFuel] everywhere in the world, I would say no,” he said. “But in terms of fuel consumption, our goal is to be concerned that all the fuel consumed, such as the 911s, will be supplied as eFuel, but not in every location.”

Porsche’s $75 million investment is enough to give the automaker about a 12.5 percent stake in HIF. HIF’s eFuel manufacturing method, developed with the help of Siemens Energy and ExxonMobil, uses wind energy to turn hydrogen and CO2 into liquid fuels. HIF is expected to start producing eFuel in Chile in the middle of this year.

Steiner says that that fuel works in any car that burns gasoline, which is exactly what a carbon neutral vehicle needs to do. Porsche can design the fuel for a particular engine, but any performance achieved that you may see won’t solve the main problem: letting older 911s continue to move on the streets without contributing much to global warming.

“The answer is no, we don’t plan to design new combustion engine technology for specially designed electronic fuels,” he said. The main reason is… If you use designed fuel, you can’t use this fuel in your existing fleet.”

Some of Porsche’s HIF investments will be spent to bring eFuel production sites to places other than Chile, such as the United States and Australia. Porsche said it thinks aviation and shipping companies may also be interested in eFuels. Porsche plans to introduce more eFuels in the world through “leading projects in motorsport,” but no details have been revealed.

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